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Matthew Bauer

Matthew's Blog

You are here:  blog  >  January 2016  >  Make Me Like Jesus

Make Me Like Jesus

makemelikejesusr.jpgLast night I woke up at 1:30 am. It’s the second night in a row. And it’s one thing to wake up, but another thing entirely when you can’t fall back asleep for hours on end. Usually, when this happens, I take time to pray and to seek the Lord, and this was one of those times.

Last night’s conversation dealt with a lot of insecurities. It probably has a lot to do with starting a new job, being in a new city, and trying to learn a new culture (I just moved across the country this month to serve as Executive Pastor of a new church). But it went deeper than that. It really had to do with my identity and purpose in the Kingdom of God, and the difference I’m making in this world as a co-heir and disciple of Christ.

In the midst of it all, I found myself praying… “God, make me like Jesus.” At first, it seemed like a nice enough prayer, but as it kept repeating throughout the night, I began to ask the question, “what exactly does that mean?”

Now I’m sure many of us have prayed prayers like this over the years, thinking of the Jesus who was full of compassion, full of love, full of sacrifice; who was gentle, patient, forgiving, extravagant; you know, the safe Jesus. The one who would rather die than cause a fight. The one who would give everything He had just so everyone would get along and feel happy all the time and be free of sin.

But what about the Jesus who boldly confronted the religious authorities of His day? What about the Jesus who turned the tables in the Temple and drove the merchants out with a whip? What about the Jesus who sent demons running to the pigs, who had such faith as to walk on water, who stood unflinching before His accusers, who walked straight through the crowds of people that wanted to kill Him, who was so full of power that the slightest touch of His robe could heal every disease? What about the Jesus who hung out with prostitutes and thieves and sinners? What about the Jesus who lived against the grain, who didn’t get lost trying to fit in with the gods of the culture around Him? What about that Jesus?

I’ve been really convicted about being like that Jesus lately. And I’ve been seeking the Lord about why that’s not a greater part of my everyday life. Sure, I’ve faced my battles and had my confrontations, and I’ve made my share of sacrifices to live “against the grain.” I’d even dare say I’m pretty good at it. But two things stand out to me as being wrong:

First, me being good at something doesn’t make it right – it’s the Holy Spirit in me who’s power does the work, and if I give myself the credit, I’m probably not doing it right. The ministers in Matthew 7 were cast out of Heaven for thinking they could do ministry by their own power, and that means I must become a lot weaker (something I’m not very good at), so that His power has room to work within me.

Second, if I were to describe the daily example of Christ that I bring to the world, it would look a lot less like that Jesus and more like the safe Jesus. That’s not to say that the safe Jesus is not a good thing, but it is far from complete without the demonstration of His power. In John 10:37, Christ Himself said “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me.” His grace must be accompanied by His power.

When Jesus promised He would send the Holy Spirit to us, He told us we would be clothed with “power from on high” (Luke 24:49). But as a church, we’ve shied away from the power and taken shelter behind a pulpit. We love to teach about the power, but our lives no longer demonstrate it in the world. We’ve hidden ourselves behind closed doors, behind a few good deeds, behind our tolerance, and we’re just trying to make it through until Jesus comes back to set things right.

And that’s just it – Jesus left us with the charge to carry His power to the world. Is He coming back? Yes! But God forbid that He should come back to see the seed He planted hidden away and unfruitful like the servant with only one talent (see Matthew 25)!

Look around you. Turn on the news. There is something terribly wrong when the devil’s power shines brighter than God’s power in our world! It simply should not be. The church is there, but it is sitting on the sidelines, or at best, it is playing defense. But we’ve got the ball, and we know that we’re playing for the wining team!

I want to live a life every day that exudes that understanding. I want to walk into a restaurant and have the atmosphere shift instantly. I want the wait-staff to be healed of every disease. I want the management to give their lives to Jesus. I want the folks at the bar to discover the living water that will quench their eternal thirst and change their lives forever. I want to see the dead raised. I want to see the oppressed set free. I want to be the evidence of a powerful, living, abundant, almighty God to this world!

And I don’t know what it’s going to take to get there. I could say that I need to be more devout, pray harder, fast more often, memorize more scripture… but again, it’s not my power that I’m after, but God’s. And it’s not the price that I must pay for that power, but the price Jesus already paid for it. Sure, those things are great, but I have to get it into my brain – I cannot do anything to achieve God’s power. I can only do things to receive it. And I must risk appearing weak and foolish so I can be a vessel for it in this world.

One thing I do know, the prayer of “make me like Jesus” cannot be prayed from the bleachers. It is a prayer that is going to take something of me. It’s like praying for God to teach you patience – you may get the results you’re looking for, but there may be some pain in the process. You’re going to have to get on the field, get your hands dirty, make some risky plays, maybe take a hit or two, and quite likely face the jeers and insults of the opposing crowd. But it’s a prayer that I’m committed to. It’s a prayer that I am willing to make not just with my words at 1:30 in the morning, but with my life.

“God, whatever it means, whatever it looks like, whatever it takes… make me like Jesus!”
Posted: 1/28/2016 8:41:46 PM by Matthew Bauer | with 0 comments
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